I view the Alexander Technique as exploring how we respond to stimuli and the quality we bring to our actions. And if the stimulus is too big for us, learning how to reduce it. That may be from finding a more mechanically advantageous way of performing a physical task to learning to mentally stop and and reassess how you are going to respond. A far cry from the Posture Police that I'm usually labelled with, not that your posture wont benefit from this way of thinking.
Now, that's all well and good, but does that mean you should try and Alexander your way through every waking moment? Thankfully no, that would be unrealistic and frankly unappealing. Yes your awareness of yourself will improve with Alexander lessons so that you naturally choose, and have the ability, to take better care of yourself, but there are also some common sense ways to reduce the challenges you face at work.
Thankfully you're not literally chained to your desk.
The office environment presents all sorts of physical and mental challenges, the main one being having to sit at your computer all day with the associated problems that brings. Thankfully it is possible to reduce the amount of time you sit at your desk and keep you more mobile with a few changes to how you approach your working day, and in my previous career working in IT, this is what I did myself (except for the last point, or at least I'm not admitting to it):
Get a hands free set for your desk
phone. Obviously this helps when you are talking on the phone and need to use your computer, but in addition, it's great to stand up and pace whenever you talk on the phone.
You'll even find your conversations more engaging and that you communicate better.
Get the teas/coffees in for your team.
Not only does this get you away from your desk, it'll make you popular too.
Go for a smokeless cigarette break.
Seriously. Smoking may be health scourge no.1, but at least smokers get a regular break. And for as long as cigarettes are legal I recommend that you join them, albeit upwind, and amaze
yourself with the insider information that comes out in smoke breaks.
- Get up and talk to a colleague in person instead of using instant messengering or email, especially if they are in another room or on another floor.
And finally, we have my friend
Sarah Warman to
thank for this, and I'm going to quote her exactly as she posted it on her Facebook page the other week: "If ur feeling achey sitting at a desk all day, take a break & GO DANCE IN
THE LOO! Ur body will be so happy!! (As will u!) #GODANCEINTHELOO" - and why not, if your colleagues are getting the teas and coffees in too you should get plenty of opportunities to
I gave a presentation of the Alexander Technique to a Human Resources manager from a major chain of hotels not long ago, and it was these simple ideas (minus Sarah's wonderful contribution) that had him writing furiously in his notepad. What hadn't escaped his notice was that they also helped to build better communication and relationships within and between departments. Bonus.
And for the times you can't get away from your desk? Have a read through my previous blogs to help you make the most of the situation. I especially recommend reading about how the balance of your head and your mental attention affects you, and how to sit correctly. You can always sit quietly for a few moments and experiment with the ideas in those articles.
So hows about setting yourself a 5 day challenge to incorporate as many of the above points as possible and then report back here and tell me how it is all going?
Hopefully these ideas will help to bring some ease to your working day, but if it's been "one of those" days, and we all have them, there's a little something you can do for yourself when you get home, but more on that next time ...
P.S. extra thought, take the stairs instead of the elevator! If you work in a very tall building at least take them when you are going down, it's invariably quicker than waiting for the lift to turn up!
P.P.S. A barely related office link, I couldn't resist sharing Vince Vaughn and his co-stars in idiotic stock photography. Keep smiling, you move better when you smile.
Come and find out if the Alexander Technique is the solution you were looking for. You've got nothing to lose but your pain!
Please feel free to contact me for a no obligation chat to see how the Alexander Technique can help you too.